Coming Up # 2, 2004 - 2005, oil and wax on canvas, 132cm x432cm (collection Royal Bank of Scotland)

 

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Where’s Dora? (cont.)
by Olga Gambari translated from the Italian by Miriam Hurley and Claudia Ricci (catalogue essay for “Where’s Dora” Mar & Partners, Turin 2007)

As if he’s surfing on waves, Gammon glides over a world of sensations and reflections, delving into a collection of codified images, hibiscus and lush leaves. In each work, he breaks up those forms, he jumps on them and through them, doubles them, observes them from different perspectives and overlaps them. They become abstract modules, outlines that are stylized to the point of verging on the, in the meticulous plan that underpins every work. The trajectory for the artist starts from realit geometric. Nothing is left to chance, as minimalism’s lesson lingers in the highly precise layout of the compositional structure, in the exactness of the mark and then departs from it at the iconographic level. Realism becomes abstract, modular mannerism, a viewthat detaches from the familiar, recognizable landscape to delve into a narrative of sensations and perceptions. Here, in this parallel dimension, Gammon surfs, as if he were gliding through layers of water, taking on the distorted view that the eyes see under the water’s surface, when looking up at the light from below, and all seems to be governed by new laws of sight and gravity. Gammon is interested in having his paintings work with perception. The concepts of optical and kinetic art therefore come into play, tied to shifting the bounds of forms, the application of color, and optical effects. Shadings, juxtapositions, sudden shifts in hue, combinations and tonings. Oil paint and wax expressed through a theoretical and technical experience that makes the surface move, creates dynamic planes, makes the fields of color vibrate and depart from the two-dimensional. This is a totally virtual concept of three-dimensionality that approaches a hallucinogenic vision. An essential element, both in terms of material and aesthetics, is wax, the final contribution to his works, informing refrains and pacing, turning the painting into a velvet fabric. “Even in profile, the surface seems to move, in the slight layering of the forms, flapping like a flag”, Gammon says.
So who was Dora anyway?
Dora was a legend. He was someone who used to disappear from time to time, no-one knew where to. A bit of a pirate, slightly crazy, always with his board under his arm. It was in the sixties in California that the graffiti started appearing on walls, at Dana Point where he surfed, asking “Where’s Dora?” No-one was ever quite sure. And it’s still being painted on walls today, his name represents a whole way of life, it’s a symbol of youth and rebellion.



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